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opinion

Parliament security chiefs working with cops on training programme for MSPs and staff on handling suspicious packages

HOLYROOD SECURITY TRAINING

MP, political party HQ and council building as well as two police bases were targeted within a matter of hours last month

HOLYROOD security chiefs are working with cops on a training programme on suspicious packages for MSPs after a spate of recent scares. An MP, political party HQ and council building as well as two police bases were targeted within a matter of hours last month with suspect packages in the mail.

Parliament Security Chiefs Working With Cops On Training Programme For MSPs And Staff On Handling Suspicious Packages

News Group Newspapers Ltd

Police stationed outside Scottish Parliament

MSPs were put on alert1 after three items were delivered to SNP MP John Nicolson s office, a party base and an Angus Council building in 24 hours. Security officials at the Scottish Parliament sent advice to elected members after one of the packages was sent to the constituency office of Nicolson2 on Tuesday, May 25.

Now they are working with police to develop special training for MSPs and their staff on mail handling and suspicious packages.

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A Holyrood spokesman told the Scottish Sun: Parliament security staff are currently working with Police Scotland to develop a training package on mail handling and suspicious packages. Two days after the incident at Nicolson s office, cops revealed officers were scrambled to the Scottish Police Federation building in Glasgow and to the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan, Fife after packages were delivered there. Two packages containing white powder were also delivered to an Angus Council building in Forfar.

The Municipal Buildings on Castle Street were closed off despite police saying the package poses no immediate threat to the public.

Parliament Security Chiefs Working With Cops On Training Programme For MSPs And Staff On Handling Suspicious Packages

News Group Newspapers Ltd

Police car outside Holyrood

The contents of the package were described as white powder type substances and are related to the upcoming snap election in June. Cops have launched a major probe into the incidents. An email from Holyrood head of security Becky Thomson was circulated around MSPs with advice from cops.

In the email, she said: Dear Members, between Tuesday and Wednesday, three suspicious mail packages containing a white powder type substance were sent to an elected official, a political party headquarters and a council building.

All packages were associated with the forthcoming UK general election . Police Scotland s enquiries into this matter are ongoing.

We enclose a letter from Police Scotland with some further advice regarding mail handling, suspicious packages and indicators of white powder .

We would be grateful if you would take the time to review this information and discuss with your local office staff . The same information has been issued to all elected representatives across Scotland.


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References

  1. ^ put on alert (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  2. ^ Nicolson (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  3. ^

Claims council has removed long standing security patrols

Nightly security guard patrols have been removed from Dundee city centre, The Courier understands. Guards have patrolled City Square and the surrounding area on 12 hour shifts for several years. Patrollers were asked to check in at points throughout the centre while attempting to curb anti social behaviour.

Now it s claimed the patrols have been dropped by Dundee City Council. Night shift cover on the council s Dundee House building has also been removed, it s said. Dundee City Council refused to elaborate on the reported changes, citing security reasons for the refusal.

However the administration notes changes to security arrangements at Dundee House and City Square in its annual budget report. The changes, the administration claims, will involve improved risk management and more effective use of technology (which) will enable increased efficiency in this area . But The Courier has been informed by an industry source that a long-standing security arrangement for guards to patrol both the city centre and Dundee House has been withdrawn.

In 2014, figures emerged showing the council spends around 40,000 every year on security guards for City Square. At the time, Councillor Will Dawson, city development convener, said: Costs of vandalism and graffiti have greatly reduced since security was introduced at City Square.

The presence of security helps to protect property, while offering reassurance for staff who work in the square. Earlier this month, figures were published showing the administration has spent 250,000 on maintaining CCTV cameras in Dundee over the last four years.

In the last financial year alone, the council paid 69,371.33 refurbishing some of its 87 cameras. The most recent update from the local authority shows there are currently five with minor faults which are not working. The peak expenditure came in 2013/14 when 74,046.12 was spent maintaining the cameras

Commenting on the figures, Daniel Nesbitt, research director of Big Brother Watch,said: Dundee City Council should be regularly reviewing its CCTV network and if the cameras aren t making a difference then they should be scaled back.

Paris gunman reportedly ‘known’ to security services

Two police officers and gunman are dead following a Paris shooting incident (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A gunman who killed a Paris police officer, and seriously wounded another two, before being shot dead was known to security services . It comes after the suspect opened fire on the police while they were stationed at the Champs-Elysees earlier tonight. It is understood the assailant stepped out of a car at a red light and opened fire with a Kalashnikov machine gun, also known as an AK-47.

One officer have been confirmed dead, with two wounded, as has their assailant. Police have confirmed they are now searching the attacker s home. The French Interior Ministry has said it is too early to say what the motive behind the attack was, but have said officers were deliberately attacked.

The counter-terror office has opened a preliminary investigation into the attack, but there has also been speculation that it could have been related to an armed robbery attempt. Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said that the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station. A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man s body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police.

The attack comes three days before the first round of France s tense presidential election. A televised debate with all 11 presidential candidates was being broadcast when the attack took place. Security is high around the vote after France has been attacked in recent years.

Most recently, soldiers providing security at prominent locations were attacked in separate incidents one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

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